Rock the Red Pump for HIV/AIDS Awareness

Rock the Red Pump poster
Gather up your ruby slippers!

March 10 is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD) in the United States.  The day is dedicated to raising awareness about the impact of HIV and AIDS on women and girls. Currently, 27% of new AIDS cases diagnosed are women and 66% of those women are African-American.

To help call attention to this problem, talk about it. Tweet and post on social networks with the hashtag #RocktheRedPump. Put on a pair of red pumps and show your support! And , if you can post those pix on Instagram, that would be totally awesome!

You can find out more information about the Rock the Red Pump campaign here at theredpumpproject.org.

Playing Fizzbin at the Indiana BMV

I have decided that it is easier to play Fizzbin (also known as Fizbin) than it is to conduct business at The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

If you are a geek like me, you remember Fizzbin from the classic Star Trek original series episode “A Piece of the Action.” (See the end of this entry for a refresher if necessary.) For geeks, the name is synonymous with misdirection and confusing rules. And, unfortunately, that describes my last visit to the BMV.

As some of you may know, I am the primary caregiver for my 81 year old mother. 

My mother is 81 years old, legally blind and unable to walk without assistance.  I recently brought her here from Alabama to live with me in Indiana. (My mother had been an Indiana resident for over 30 years prior to moving to Alabama.)

On Friday, May 4, 2012, I took my mother to the my local License branch to get her a Indiana State Identification card. I had all the proper documents: Birth Certificate, Marriage License, Social Security Card, utility bills, bank statement, etc. (Now, it is worth noting here that I am college educated and previously worked for a government agency managing FTA and DOT grants, so I speak fluent bureaucrat.)

Even though I had all the necessary documentation as listed on the Indiana website, the license bureau rejected her social security card because it was “too old.” There is no qualification listed on the website that certain types of Social Security cards would be considered unacceptable. We were unable to get her ID card and now will have to make another trip.

I have several concerns: First, a reasonable person would have no way of knowing that any given Social Security card would be unacceptable. I, for example, am college educated and double checked the requirements before I came. I also had other acceptable documents with her Social Security number that I could have brought had I known that her card might not be good enough. I had no reason to question that a valid Social Security card would not be satisfactory.

Secondly, the staff was uncaring, particularly given my mother’s age and disability.

This ID law as practiced is onerous and a burden, especially to the elderly and disabled. To have to make more than one trip to get an ID card is deplorable, especially as the elderly and disabled often no longer drive and require assistance or have to pay someone to transport them.

Most troubling is the fact that in the 21st century, Indiana’s BMV website still does not give its citizens the information they need in order to conduct their business with the State.

On Monday I emailed three members of the Indiana HouLegislature expressing my concern:

…  First, a reasonable person would have no way of knowing that any given Social Security card would be unacceptable. I, for example, am college educated and double checked the requirements before I came. I also had other acceptable documents with her Social Security number that I could have brought had I known that her card might not be good enough. I had no reason to question that a valid Social Security card would not be satisfactory.

Secondly, the staff was uncaring, particularly given my mother’s age and disability.

This ID law as practiced is onerous and a burden, especially to the elderly and disabled. To have to make more than one trip to get an ID card is deplorable, especially as the elderly and disable often no longer drive and require assistance or have to pay someone to transport them.

Most troubling is the fact that in the 21st century, Indiana’s BMV website still does not give its citizens the information they need in order to conduct their business with the State.

So far, I’ve gotten several phone calls from legislators and a call from the branch manager anxiously offering to resolve my problem by running my mother’s number through the link with the Social Security office – even if I didn’t have the proper documentation.

Here’s what I want to know: Where was all this “help” on Friday when we made our initial visit? And what about fixing the BMV’s website so that someone really knows what to expect (and what to bring) when they come for an ID card or a driver’s license? This seems to be a point that is getting lost. Why is it that I am suddenly deserving of this help because I know how to contact a legislator’s office?

Silly me. I think that that the BMV should do everything it can to help every customer before sending them away empty-handed. Maybe Mr. Spock can compute the odds on that happening.

Here’s a “refresher course” in Fizzbin:

Netflix nixes Qwikster

Netflix has evidently gotten the message that customers don’t want two websites, two accounts, two whatevers! The company has decided to leave the DVD and streaming services combined.

Netflix’s recent price hike and separation of streaming and DVD delivery services cost the company over a million subscribers and cause stock price to fall. The company announced the pricing change in July and the new price structure took effect September 1, 2011.

The company had already tried to placate upset customers. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings wrote his famous “I messed up. I owe everyone an explanation” email to subscribers to try to explain the company’s actions. In the email, Hastings announced the formation of Qwikster for the DVD portion of the business. Critics panned the move as poorly thought-out when it was discovered the Twitter account for the name was already taken.

This morning’s email from the company read:

It is clear that for many of our members two websites would make things more difficult, so we are going to keep Netflix as one place to go for streaming and DVDs.

This means no change: one website, one account, one password…in other words, no Qwikster.

While the July price change was necessary, we are now done with price changes.

We’re constantly improving our streaming selection. We’ve recently added hundreds of movies from Paramount, Sony, Universal, Fox, Warner Bros., Lionsgate, MGM and Miramax. Plus, in the last couple of weeks alone, we’ve added over 3,500 TV episodes from ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, USA, E!, Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, ABC Family, Discovery Channel, TLC, SyFy, A&E, History, and PBS.

We value you as a member, and we are committed to making Netflix the best place to get your movies & TV shows.

Now, if only they would back down on not giving customers who want both services a price break….

And check out this from Saturday Night Live. Kinda says it all.

 

Is A.J. Cook going to return to Criminal Minds?

There is news, news, news about CBS television series Criminal Minds.  According to TV Squad.com,  A.J. Cook is in talks to return! And Paget Brewster may return as well? And Ed Bernero is leaving? Hm. This sounds interesting.

After an joining an unsuccessful campaign to Save the Ladies of Criminal Minds (see the entry about the that campaign),   I have been boycotting all CBS shows since last July, including Criminal Minds.  It would be nice to be able to stop boycotting and start watching again. I would like to see the second half of the two-parter with Tim Curry.

Plus, I  really, really, really miss NCIS.

Stay tuned to see what happens!

The Amend the Constitution Meme

Every now and then I get one of those chain emails that actually makes sense. This is the one I received today. Rather than forward it to 20 people via email, I thought I would share it with you here:

The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971… before e-mail, before cell phones, etc.

Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land…all because of public pressure.

I’m asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.

In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.

Congressional Reform Act of 2011

1. Term Limits.

12 years only, one of the possible options below..

A. Two Six-year Senate terms
B. Six Two-year House terms
C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms

2. No Tenure / No Pension.

A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

3. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.

All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.

4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/11.

The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive the message. Maybe it is time.

THIS IS HOW WE FIX CONGRESS!!!!!

What do you think of the ideas presented here?

The Truth about Zombie Awareness Week

I received some very interested responses to the idea of an Australian Zombie Awareness Week from my last blog entry. However, much to my chagrin, in investigating further, I have discovered that this event is not exactly what I thought it was.

Rather than a week of furthering awareness of the living dead, the Australian Zombie Awareness Week  was promoting awareness of malware and virus infected computers spewing forth not blood and pus, but spam.  That’s right kids.  Garden variety spam.

This is so disappointing!

I mean, imagine thinking you were getting scary rotting walking corpses and instead getting…  spam. So utterly gross!

 It is also disturbing.

“Zombie” was one of those words that was pretty clear cut: It is either a reanimated corpse or a human being controlled by a supernatural force. Unlike words like “input,” which semantically can have one meaning in economics and a different meaning in the tech field, when someone said zombie, everyone was on pretty much the same page. Okay, so you might question whether it was Romero style slow zombies or 28 Days Later fast ones. But you were still talking walking dead, right?

So now, you have to clarify that you are not talking about hijacked computers?

Sheesh. That’s enough to take all the fun out of being undead.

Police shot and killed another dog…

There’s a really good reason I don’t watch the local news. Tonight, one of the Chicago TV news stations led off with a story  about an off-duty police officer shooting some one’s dog.   As a animal lover and pet owner, I find these stories absolutely terrifying.  As someone who lost a beloved dog over this last year to cancer, I find a story like this especially heartbreaking. It is hard enough to lose a pet, let alone lose one to this kind of  sudden violence.

Unfortunately, this is a story that I am hearing all too frequently.  To see  just how prevalent this, try looking on the Internet.  A search on Google for “police shooting dogs” yields approximately 517,000 results.   Many of these dogs are shot and killed right in front of their owners.  In fact, not too long ago, police officers shot an owners’ dog right in front of them  in the city where I live.  The police officer in that case was cleared, as is usually the case  in most of these dog shootings.   It seems that “preventing injury” and an officer feeling  “in danger” are the excuses for both killing the animals and ruling the shootings  “justifiable.” 

In tonight’s incident, the officer evidently claims that she had no choice as the dog attacked while she was walking her dog and she felt “in danger.”  Unbelievably, after killing the dog, the officer then ticketed the owner for not having a dog license! The Chicago Police are supposedly investigating, so it will be interesting to see the outcome.  Unfortunately, I can already guess what that outcome will be.

If this happened to your dog, how would you feel?